Agrarian Land and Pond

Zak Marimon gets guidance on focusing his message and growing his business network.

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Published: April 24, 2015
Updated: January 12, 2017
Tags: Marketing | Project

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ZAK MARIMON (OFFSCREEN):  

My biggest hurdle right now is making the jump from a small business to getting a little bit larger and facilitating the needs of larger clients.

We have something that should be taken to a larger scale.

NARRATOR:

This is the Wells Fargo Work Project. Watch as three small business customers strive to take their next step. For 2014 Wells Fargo Works contest grand prize winner Zak Marimon, it's learning networking skills and marketing his eco-friendly business.

MARIMON:  

The goal of Agrarian is to turn storm water ponds into water gardens. One thing that makes us different than our competitors is that we use sustainable methods to actually manage our ponds, so we can improve pollution by working with nature instead of against it.

I lived in an apartment complex that had these stone water ponds that were just turning green. They were full of algae and slime. It just made me want to get out there and fix the problem. And from there, Agrarian Land and Pond was born.

It is an ongoing struggle to try and succinctly explain what I do to some of the larger clientele in a way that they can understand — so they know why it is that my service can help them.

In 2014, I entered the Wells Fargo Works contest, and I was one of the $25,000 grand prize winners. After winning, I was able to put a lot more money into the business, but we still have to get some work to do in getting that message out and making sure that our marketing really attracts the clients and lets them know — in layman’s terms — what we're trying to do.

COCO SOODEK:  

I'm Coco Soodek. I'm a small business consultant. In 2014, Wells Fargo retained my services to offer Zak professional guidance. And now I have the pleasure of working with him again. [Knocks on door]

MARIMON:  

Welcome!

SOODEK:  

Zak?

MARIMON:  

Hey!

SOODEK:  

How are you?

SOODEK (OFFSCREEN):  

I'm so excited to see Zak again. I talk to Zak almost every week. He's so committed and he's so passionate, and he's making great progress. But he has still got a long way to go.

SOODEK:  

Wow, it looks great out here!

I'm advising Zak to help him with marketing, so his clients and potential clients can understand what he does.

I think you're at the place where — with just a few little adjustments — that you're really going to be able to take this business and go right to the moon.

MARIMON:  

That sounds great! Can we get to that?

SOODEK:  

Yeah! Alright, let's go.

SOODEK:  

Let's talk about where you are.

MARIMON:  

Alright.

SOODEK:  

What do you think is missing? What do you think you're lacking?

MARIMON:  

Really finalizing that communication. I don't think it's quite that top-notch level, where it's succinct enough to really get those big businesses and let them know what I am doing really quickly.

SOODEK:  

We all speak in terms that are a little bit too technical.

MARIMON:  

Yeah.

SOODEK:  

And so you need somebody else to come in and help you be understandable.

MARIMON:  

Definitely.

SOODEK:  

I don't know who of us comes to this, knowing off the bat how to promote their business. Your business is particularly hard because there's very little template out there.

Wells Fargo has a Business Plan Center, and it's an amazing tool. Because it's going to help you lay out everything that you need to put into your business plan. It's going to help you figure out your products and your services, how you're going to market those products and services, and also lay out the financial aspects of your business. It's meant to be totally-user friendly, and it is totally user-friendly. There's a marketing section of the Business Plan Tool, but I'd like you to focus on positioning and promotion — truly identifying, who are your customers and how are you going to reach them?

MARIMON:  

And saying it without too much science and technical jargon.

SOODEK:  

That's right, and there are very few people who do what you do.

MARIMON:  

That's true.

SOODEK:  

So you have to figure out creative ways of promoting your business to the right people.

MARIMON:  

One of the most important aspects of a business plan is that it helps you organize your goals. And the Business Plan Tool from Wells Fargo is going to help me do just that.

SOODEK:  

I'd like you to keep working with the Business Plan Tool, and I'm going to come back tomorrow and then we're going to continue to push forward.

MARIMON:  

That sounds like a great idea.

SOODEK:  

Alright, I'll see you tomorrow.

MARIMON:  

Alright.

SOODEK:  

Today I am having another meeting with Zak to really focus his strategy so that he can grow his business.

SOODEK:  

Today I want to talk about your networking plan.

MARIMON:  

OK.

SOODEK:  

A networking plan is incredibly vital for every small business owner. Most of your contracts and opportunities are going to come from the people that you know.

You will not only meet other people through those other people. You will also eventually get some type of a contract or a deal from it.

MARIMON:  

I like the idea of that.

SOODEK:

OK, excellent.

SOODEK:

I do have another surprise for you.

MARIMON:  

Alright. What is it?

SOODEK:  

Wells Fargo is also going to be providing you with $10,000 in goods and services.

MARIMON:  

Wow! I'm just — I'm speechless.

SOODEK:  

We have retained a full-service marketing firm. They're terrific.

MARIMON:  

That's awesome.

Wells Fargo has set us up with a full-scale marketing firm. This is going to give us way more strength than we had before to really detail what it is we do in a way that makes sense to people.

DOUG:

It's really critical that we hone in on what you're trying to say and how you say it, which is going be a perfect tie-in to your networking plan that you have been working with Coco on.

MARIMON:  

I like the sound of this.

DOUG:

We put together an infographic that visually explains your process.

MARIMON:  

Oh, wow!

DOUG:

Your messaging — much like these waters — is rather murky. This all goes away, and we end up with this absolutely beautiful floating island in the middle of a pond.

MARIMON:  

Yeah.

DOUG:  

And all of a sudden, it's gorgeous.

MARIMON:  

The infographic that Doug has shown me is just beautiful. We’ve been trying to develop these kinds of infographics for years. He has brought together the ideas that I am trying to show my potential clients and then taking it to that next level.

Now he wants us not to just explain that we clean up a lake, but that we beautify that lake. And that's the message that I really want to get out to my potential clients.

SOODEK:  

This infographic is going to keep you disciplined in how you tell your story when you talk to people. Now, Zak, I'd like you to review two articles that are both on the Wells Fargo Works website.

MARIMON:  

Okay.

SOODEK:  

One is "What is Your Positioning Statement?" And the second is "Making your Brand Memorable." I think those will provide additional context to help you work with Doug most effectively.

MARIMON:  

OK.

So after speaking with Doug, I see a whole new world opening up for us in terms of how we market ourselves. There are a lot of ideas running through my mind now, and I know that the next step is going to be amazing.

SOODEK:  

We've worked on your business plan, we worked on your networking plan, and now you're going to work on your marketing plan that you need to really send your business to the moon.

MARIMON:  

I like that. The moon may have water one day too. We're going to have to clean ponds up there as well. [Laughs]

SOODEK:  

[Laughs]

MARIMON:  

I don't think I can thank Wells Fargo enough for what they've brought to my business.

SOODEK:  

It's been so great to spend these last couple of days with you.

MARIMON:  

The feeling is mutual.

I'm more optimistic now about the future of Agrarian Land and Pond than I have ever been before. The Wells Fargo Business Plan Center reduces the uncertainty that I have. It's the information and the expertise that I am now getting that is really setting us up for a profitable future.

NARRATOR:  

Try the complimentary tools in the Business Plan Center at wellsfargoworks.com.

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